News & Updates

Ask a Childbirth Educator (Oct 2023)

Hooray its spring!  However, my baby has a runny nose, and it doesn’t seem to be a cold, could it be a pollen allergy?’

Spring!  Ah that excited feeling that winter is fading away and the long days of summer are on the horizon.  For some of you, this isn’t such an idyllic time – Spring really is beautiful, but it’s also a key time of year for seasonal allergies, as those beautiful plants release their pollen.  Pollen is being released as tiny grains into the atmosphere to fertilise other plants.  But some of it can end up in your nose as well!

What happens is your immune system is tricked and mistakenly sees the pollen as a danger.  Your immune system will then automatically release antibodies to attack those allergens.  This then leads to a release of chemicals called histamines, into the blood.  It is the histamines that trigger off those annoying symptoms such as itchy and runny nose, itchy eyes, etc., often referred to as ‘Hay Fever’.  Symptoms are also more prominent on breezy days, encouraging the pollen to be airborne, as opposed to rainy days where these allergens are washed away.

Those of you who recognise these symptoms, may find an antihistamine from the chemist works well, and some find great success with homeopathic remedies.  If your baby is showing these symptoms though, have your baby checked out by your doctor before giving anything over the counter.  Your doctor may refer you to an allergy specialist.  An allergy specialist my do a skin test where a sample of the diluted allergen is injected under the skin.  If a small red lump forms, it is likely there is an allergy.  For firmer results, a blood test may be taken.

It isn’t common for babies under the age of one to develop a seasonal allergy such as this, so if you’re wondering if it is a cold or other sickness, or if is indeed ‘hay fever’, hay fever is seldom accompanied with a raised or high temperature and also doesn’t cause diarrhoea.

Please note that all symptoms of a cold or flu should be checked by your doctor and a COVID-19 test seriously considered.

For those of you (parents and kids) who do suffer sneezing, itching, runny nose and coughing here are a few tips

  • Try to keep windows closed and turn on the air conditioner to help keep pollen out. Regularly change the filers of your air conditioner
  • Vacuum (regularly change filters), dust and wash bedding regularly
  • Limit outdoor activity on windy, sunny, spring days
  • Pollen can come inside with your shoes; so, leave them at the door
  • Shower or bathe regularly to remove pollen particles from hair and clothes.
  • Pollen can be carried by pets, so bath them regularly too
  • Cut grass short to reduce pollen output



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